Phoenix Dance Theatre

Liverpool Playhouse
7th May 2015

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

What was off-putting about this performance was the scheduling of the programme, which included two twenty minute intervals, the first after only 18 minutes had elapsed.

Nevertheless the Leeds-based company offered a wide-ranging display of dance theatre.

They opened with 'Shift' with dancers attired in factory clothing, backed by the string and piano music of Kenji Bunch. Bet you don't see this happening on the production line of a car factory!

More complex was 'Shadows, accompanied by Fratres, composed by Arvo Part. It involved two women and two men sat around a table, before they donned coats and carried suitcases. At least they were not using those gawd awful trollies people nowadays pull behind them. They then posed as if being photographed. I was not sure of the point of this element of the evening's performance, although the music was sublime.

The company then enacted a piece, titled 'TearFall'. Given that it took place on 7 May, the date of the General Election, it could have been dedicated to the Labour Party!

It revolves around the concept of tears but in an oblique way. The dancers link together like a chain and then unlink. Again I was puzzled by what they were trying to convey.

The final piece was 'Bloom'. Set to a medley of contemporary composers, including Emilie Autumn and FanFare Ciocarlia, the title refers to nature and its often transitory aspect. The seven faces of the performers were etched in grey, looking like the undead. The best part was the series of scenes where people looked dead but then came back into life.

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